Monday, April 30, 2012

From Poetic Asides:  “For today’s prompt, write a fade away poem. I’ll let you decide how to interpret what a fade away poem might cover.”

at the beginning
the story of us
(you and me)
starting as a blank page
both of us firmly there
giddy excitement promise
i remember the smell of your hair/neck
as we parted that night
a memory tattooed
in henna.

in the middle
the story of us
(me and you)
filling each page with dreams
magic potions and make believe
promise aplenty
memories springing forth
like summer dandelions
that take flight
at the slightest breeze.

at the end
the story of us
(you) (me)
closing the final chapter
with plot twists turns
too numerous to track
nullifying the middle
the beginning
now just memories like old photos
that fade and fray with
each passing day.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

From Poetic Asides:  “For today’s prompt, take a favorite line or image from an earlier poem this month and re-work it into a new poem. This is a fun exercise that I’ve used to successfully write new poems in the past.”

Saturday, April 28, 2012

From Poetic Asides:  "For today’s prompt, write a problem poem. The poem could be about a problem the narrator is suffering through, or someone else’s problem. Or a math problem."

Friday, April 27, 2012

From Poetic Asides:  “For today’s prompt, take the phrase “The Trouble Is (blank),” replace the blank with a word or phrase, make the new phrase the title of the poem, and then, write the poem. Example titles may include: “The Trouble Is You,” “The Trouble Is Figuring Out How to End This Poem,” or “The Trouble Is What I’m Always Finding.”

The Trouble is Common Sense

when you have to tell federal agents
at work in another country
they should not sleep with prostitutes
(and by all means fail to pay for the rendered service)
the news isn’t a scandal
rather another benchmark
to the widespread reach
of this pandemic.

oh, you’ve seen the symptoms:
paying your mistress with campaign election funds
holding hot coffee between your legs
a wide stance in the men’s room
driving on the freeway and reading email
wearing pajamas in public
texting photos of your genitals
operating a ponzi scheme
marrying someone you’ve only known for a month.

the trouble with common sense
is that it’s no longer common.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

From Poetic Asides:  “For today’s prompt, write an animal poem. The poem can be about an animal, just reference an animal, or well, however you’d like to handle writing an animal poem.”

there is talk about the end
strange phenomena
dolphins washing ashore
flocks of birds falling like hail
vanishing bees and bats
all unexplained
like an illusionist’s trick
perhaps mother nature’s
grand sleight
of hand.

the humans
marvel filling stadiums
each night
standing room only
with thunderous applause
and hope when mother needs a
new volunteer from the audience
they aren’t

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

From Poetic Asides:  “For today’s prompt, write a poem about a sport.  Pick any sport you want. And yes, feel free to bend and stretch the rules as far as you wish.”

never play with someone
who breaks hearts for sport
who collects them like trophies
the perfect hand/eye coordination
to inflict pain
writhing heart wrenching

for this game
you must forsake your own heart
or protect it with padding
like a linebacker
ready to run off/sides
take the penalty the cheap shot
a pyrrhic victory
ending with a tie
score of battered

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

From Poetic Asides:  “For today’s prompt, we’re faced with the final Two-for-Tuesday prompt of the month, which means we’re faced with these two options: Write a love poem.  Write an anti-love poem.”

it doesn’t require tithes
weekly attendance fancy clothes
humility homilies choirs
daily prayers
touchdowns game saving threes
or collection plates.

love is the only god
i have ever known.

so let’s gather together
no particular place
free of charge
listen laugh live
then leave knowing
love is the source
of who we are.

Monday, April 23, 2012

From Poetic Asides: “For today’s prompt, write a morning poem. The poem can be about the morning, take place during the morning, or however you want to work the morning in.”

each morning i awake
i say thanks
grateful to experience another day
knowing that some
did not make it through the night
i think of my dreams
those fleeting moments when i’m in both worlds
one that i can see with open eyes
the other
where i fly because i want
talk to people i have never seen before
charm snakes or dragons
with a fillip of my fingers
swim limpid seas as a dolphin
since it’s where
i’m most at home.

each morning i awake
i say thanks
grateful to experience another day
knowing that some
did not make it through the night
i think of my day
those fleeting moments when i’m in both worlds
one that i can see with closed eyes
the other
where i stretch like a cat
check for new aches and pains
reach for my phone hoping i haven’t overslept
wonder what the day will bring
knowing that in another time and place
i can charm snakes
cast spells on dragons
swim as a dolphin
and fly
because i want.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

From Poetic Asides:  "For today’s prompt, write a judging poem. This is a poem that could be judging others, or it is a poem being judged...."

sanford, fl, and son

armed with skittles of mass destruction
an improvised explosive device of iced tea
a razor sharp mobile phone
he didn’t stand a chance
against your trigger happy
sense of entitlement
loaded with bullets.
(ask anyone)
when you chase someone
you don’t know
he will run.

you say your dreams
are haunted by hoodies
police photos of you
nine one one calls
laced with cries for help
the nightly news
haunted by freedom after having
extinguished a life.
(ask anyone)
even your dreams
know you’re

Saturday, April 21, 2012

From Poetic Asides:  "For today’s prompt, write an under the microscope poem. By that, the poem could be about something actually under the microscope–like single-cell organisms or leaves–or it could be more like “being under the microscope” in other people’s eyes."

Friday, April 20, 2012

For today’s prompt, take the phrase “Let’s (blank),” replace the blank with a word or phrase, make the new phrase the title of your poem, and then write your poem. Example titles might include: “Let’s Fly a Kite,” “Let’s Party,” “Let’s Forget About That Last Poem I Wrote That Was a Little Too Personal,” etc.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

From Poetic Asides:  “For today’s prompt, write a life event poem. By life event poem, I mean a poem that takes place at or describes a life event, such as a wedding, birth, death, graduation, etc. There are so many possibilities.”

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

From Poetic Asides:  “For today’s prompt, think of a favorite regional cuisine, make that the title of your poem, and then, write the poem. For instance, you may title your poem something like “Brunswick Stew,” “Deep Dish Pizza,” or “Jambalaya,” though the poem doesn’t exactly have to be about food.”

deep fried turkey

the first time i hosted
thanksgiving dinner
i deep fried two turkeys
one was marinated with garlic, butter, and cajun seasonings
the other was injected with grace and love
both were cooked to perfection
for sides we served garlic whipped happiness
candied laughter with marsh mellows
and saut
ed peace
during dinner the guests shared the blessings
for which they were grateful
there wasn’t a dry eye at the table
we chased it down
with a several bottles of joy
and took one shot of good luck
to cap off a memorable evening

everyone helped themselves
to seconds

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

From Poetic Asides:  “Today is a Two for Tuesday prompt day. Here they are: Write a science fiction poem.  Write a fantasy poem.”  

I chose the fantasy poem.

in an alternate universe,
you didn’t wait 33 years to tell me
i was
your big high school crush.
no, you were cool
beguiling and clear;
and after different colleges,
before cell phones texting the internet,
hundred of letters postcards later
we found each other,
knowing what we wanted
with the roadmap to get there,
and we put miles on that car
cared for it like something
precious, a baby,
and it grew and grew -
this thing that we created together -
love happiness joy growth
challenge sometimes pain
but in stride with one another because it was
work worthy of care attention tenderness
elbow grease.

on our 35th anniversary we celebrated our lives
surrounded by our families and friends
in the maldives our dream trip
and you asked at breakfast
if i remembered
back in the day
when you said to me
full of fear
unsure what was next:

and i said,
of course, boo.

Monday, April 16, 2012

From Poetic Asides:  “For today’s prompt, write a mixed up poem. I guess there are a few ways to come at this poem. Your narrator could have mixed feelings about something. Or a character could get “mixed up” in something. Or the poem could be about mixing up a drink. Or a mixtape. Or however you wish to mix this prompt/poem up.”

Sunday, April 15, 2012

From Poetic Asides:  “For today’s prompt, use the following five words in your poem: slash, button, mask, strap, and balloon. Use them in any order.”

i want to know why
and my mother tells me a story
i am too young to remember
but it’s been told so many times
i search for that part of my memory
locked away replaced
a back up file that’s corrupted.

it’s my fourth birthday party
there’s a clown
mask elaborate make-up button nose
balloons, so many balloons
slash she may take flight
magnificent criss-cross
adorning the torso in flashing strobes
disorienting and hypnotic
really terrifying for a four year old
bozo asks for a volunteer
sarah goes up
is crowned with a hat made of balloons
sitting atop bozo’s bouncing knee
shrieking with giggles.

she tells me,
have had enough of bozo
run up to bouncing sarah
grab her
rescue her from the evil clown.
yeah yeah, i’ve heard this story.

yes, you have heard the first part
but you wanted to know why i never asked.

after you yanked her from bozo
you pulled her into your arms
caressed her face
kissed her
your first kiss
on your fourth birthday.

i didn’t need to ask
i was waiting for you to remember.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

From Poetic Asides:  “For today’s prompt, write a doomsday poem. Some of you may remember the world was supposed to end last year (actually twice last year), but that’s nothing new. Every few years there seems to be a new “end of world” prediction...So why not write a poem about it?”

Friday, April 13, 2012

From Poetic Asides:  For today’s prompt, write an unlucky poem. Today is Friday the 13th, and I think it’s the perfect opportunity to wax poetic about anything and everything unlucky.

for years now, i have been trying to catch her eye
you know, make a connection
but as was her wont
flighty and feckless
ms. lady luck wasn’t having it.
oh, she’d flirt and coo when she wanted
but for the most part, she made it clear
she was not to be had

believe me i had tried everything
flowers, drinks, cards, dinner invitations
practically stalking old lady
i didn’t split poles
i didn’t open umbrellas indoors
i knocked on wood
mirrors remained fully intact
but ms. luck, stifling a yawn,
didn’t find it clever or original

one day she must have taken pity
and relented, stomping her foot:
fine!  one date.  FRIDAY!
i put on my sunday’s finest
got a fresh cut
even got a mani/pedi
i mean, i’m looking and feeling like
a million bucks

after the first 30 minutes I figure
she’s caught in traffic running late
after the next 30 minutes well,
it was clear
lady wasn’t coming
a little down but undeterred
in my manicured right hand
i put a little salt
chucked it over the left shoulder
and avoided sidewalk cracks
while heading home

Thursday, April 12, 2012

From Poetic Asides:  “For today’s prompt, take the phrase “Something (blank),” replace the blank with a word or phrase, make the new phrase the title of your poem, and then, write the poem.”

something else

having loved him
as deeply as she did
it’s unfathomable he wanted
something else
he offered this casually
over wine and crudités
as if he were recalling his day
no need for a sit down
something private
could have easily been
140 characters or less
punctuated by a smiley face.

having loved him
as deeply as she did
she stood her ground
lawfully no duty to retreat
despite the imminent threat
an emotional code red
no need for a scene
something grotesquely public
post script
could have easily been
his 140 final words or less
punctuated by something else.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

From Poetic Asides: "For today’s prompt, pick a season (any season) and make it the title of your poem; then, write your poem. For instance, your poem might be titled “Winter” or “Spring” or “Rabbit Season” (if you have a sense of humor and like Looney Tunes cartoons)."

I am playing a little catch up this week, so today's poem is a tanka.

summer (l.a.)titudes

chores done no homework
big towels blankets lunches packed
bicycles ready
sand sun we played all day long
keeping time by the street lights.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

From Poetic Asides: Today’s “Two-for-Tuesday” prompts are: Write a Forest poem. (or) Write a Tree poem. You can literally write about a forest. Or you can literally write about a tree. Or you can dive right into the metaphor separating the two.

Monday, April 9, 2012

From Poetic Asides:  “For today’s prompt, write a shady poem. I’ll leave the interpretation of this prompt up to you.  It could be a poem that includes shadows and/or shading. It could be about a shady part of town or a shady person.”

even after the third introduction
you acted like it was the first
a sag nomination for surprise and delight
so warm and controlled
a scene acted over and over again
maybe different cuts to get it just right
new motivation and back story each time
sure, i’ll bite
i made up a new profession
city of origin places i've traveled
interests i’m supposed to have
and you looked so intrigued
laughed in all of the right places
perfect pitch and on cue
bravo bravo!

i was the most interesting man in the world
until your sisters arrived
two of them to be exact
mirror images
a miracle of life
that one egg could split not once
but twice and create trip aces
leaving me holding a pair of deuces
yes, we met him this week
they said in unison flanking you
three flawless fates standing before me
a dream
yet raw nightmare rolled like sushi
garnished with 45 minutes of my
hot wasabi lies
now creeping up my throat
acid reflux that tastes as salty
as shade.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Saturday, April 7, 2012

From Poetic Asides:  “For today’s prompt, write a poem describing a scene in which two or more people interact without speaking. Such moments happen every day. Some are happy; some are sad; and some are angry.”

line wraps around the block: 20 dollar cover:
bass blasts pulse pumping arias of love freedom joy:
first drink in hand and still a little stiff:
he spots her center stage: a first down away:
awash in blinking amber rose light faux fog:
dancing alone: swaying slowly: yet on beat:
like she won’t be rushed:
he thinks she sees him: checks over each shoulder:
looks back at her:
he knows she sees him:
she knows he sees her:
eyes locked: an invitation:
stares laced with possibilities:
mind racing for something to say:
wants to be fresh: take a chance:
tethered to the bar: a safe zone:
orders another drink with a shot of courage:
turns back: ready:
swaying perfection gone.

Easter, April 8, 2012

For today’s prompt, write a rejected poem. Despite some acceptances, many of my poems have been rejected for submission over the years–but that’s not quite what I mean by rejected poem. I’m more interested in poems that work the idea of rejection into the poem somehow. This could take the form of a poet lamenting rejection, though also a rejected friend or student or whatever.

Friday, April 6, 2012

From Poetic Asides: “For today’s prompt, write a hiding poem. You could be hiding. Someone else could be hiding. Something could be hidden. Or maybe there could even be a hidden meaning. I’m flexible with any interpretations poets want to put on the prompt. Have at it.”

The very last time he wet his pants
Pablo was seven years old.
entering the church he found his
mother and Father Dominic
locked in a writhing embrace
the Father’s hand blessing
his mother’s behind.

Father stiffened
gave Pablo a piercing look
narrowing his eyes just so
uttered a spell he could not hear
and Pablo was paralyzed
motionless as La Virgen in the vestibule
at once wet and warm.
Mother approached him
took him by the hand
and encased in silence
they returned to the car.

The next Sunday at Mass’ end
Father Dominic announced he was moving
to another parish in another country.
Most parishioners were surprised and
openly bemoaned the news.
His mother was silent and transfixed
(a spell Pablo knew too well).
For the second time that week she
reached for his hand
neither crossing herself nor genuflecting
and they returned to the car
in silence
for the very last time.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

From Poetic Asides: “For today’s prompt, write a poem about something before your time. Maybe it’s a certain time in history. Or a type of music. Or a story that was shared by friends or family–before your time.”

nmh + ylh

square jawed and enveloped
in canvass of red earth
his eyes hazel like autumn elm leaves
that augur the advent of colder times
he stood tall like a tree to appear larger
larger than her life
firmly rooted and solid
a resting place
shelter from midday sun
home base for hide and seek
or just a place to carve
your initials declare your
presence or love.

a round face difficult
to place or categorize
claimed by many
visually at home
in places she would never set foot
tante? madre? sorellina?
but too tall to be any
she stood like a palm arched toward the sun
with frond curls the color of pitch
rustling at the slightest breeze
yet hurricane resistant
bending and dancing for survival
against attacks from weather
we name.

for forty two summers
he bloomed expanding in girth
one trunk ring at a time
his arms and leaves spread wide
soaking up the southern sun
obscuring and
eclipsing his palm.

for forty two summers
she longed for autumn and winter
knowing like any arborist
that a palm needs no shade
but instead delights in the curve
of its spine toward the sun
and fanciful tangoes
with the wind.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

From Poetic Asides: “For today’s prompt, take the phrase, “100% (blank);” replace the blank with a new word or phrase; make the new phrase the title of your poem; and then, write your poem.”

100% pink slime

a player for hire
she knew his promises
of abject happiness and
forever after
were as hollow
as a snare drum
once the music stopped.

so at her insistence
he played tirelessly
as she rocked and twirled
to his rhythm
only occasionally
coming up for air
to request an

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

From Poetic Asides:  “For today’s prompt, there are actually two options, because it’s Tuesday, which means a “Two for Tuesday” prompt.  They are: Write an apology poem, or…Write an unapologetic poem.”

an anonymous tip alleging
stockpiles of apologies
laced with
lethal levels of ifs
terms, conditions
and retractions
was at first

the perp had swallowed
years of evidence whole
moments before
and stood arms akimbo
chock full of transgressions
engorged and slightly bilious
while the agents of decency
frisked patted 

and searched.

despite a closed mouth
justice prevailed
in the end.
the perp’s undoing?


Monday, April 2, 2012

For today’s prompt, write a visitor poem. The poem can be from the point of view of a visitor – or the people receiving the visitor.  The visitor could be expected or unexpected.  The visitor could be welcome or unwelcome. The visitor doesn’t even have to be human.  The poem can be from the point of view of a visitor–or the people receiving the visitor. The visitor could be expected or unexpected. The visitor could be welcome or unwelcome. The visitor doesn’t even have to be human.

deep inside of me
just below the surface
a cell, millions of cells
replicate themselves with neither thought
consideration nor announcement
this duplication - carbon copy
is as old as the universe itself
atoms molecules nuclei
spinning gases of everything confined
by gravity and powerful forces
that i know
and yet do not.

without warning
courtesy or announcement
a visitor without an appointment
no pass no papers no invitation
one cell among millions
asserts its independence
perhaps a jailbreak from the monotony
of perfection
this miracle manifested as
everything that i am
making itself anew different
an infinitesimal presence
preening, gloriously conceited
longing desiring

that cell now millions of cells
an ancient marauder hell-bent
on laying claim to everything
i am and am not
has a name and even a stage
a grand proscenium
that includes organs entrails and lymph nodes
one cell millions of cells
blurring the line between who i am
and who i am not.

i am not cancer
i am not an endless chorus of test results
i am not a hairless dome of chemo
i am not nausea
i am not night sweats or chills

i am not catheters pick lines or tubes
i am not the patient in room fill in the blank

i am
millions of cells
replicating themselves with love and intention
i am enduring friendship and affection
i am a keepsake photo frayed at the edges
i am your favorite song movie color food
i am your perfect prom date
i am the first time you fell in love

deep inside of me just below the surface
i am atoms molecules nuclei
spinning gases of everything -
the entire universe -
whole and perfect
and free of gravity
and powerful forces
you know.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Happy April Fool’s Day.  I hope you were not duped today.  We kick off National Poetry Month with a Poem-A-Day and I will post my work here.  

From Robert Lee Brewer, Poetic Asides:  “And so it begins! Today is the first day of the 5th annual April PAD (Poem-A-Day) Challenge on Poetic Asides.  For today’s prompt, write a
communication poem.  The communication could be dialogue between two (or more people); a postcard correspondence; a letter; a voicemail; a text message; a series of tweets; or whatever. Heck, I guess a poem is a form of communication–so there’s really no way to screw up today’s prompt.”

Since it’s the first day, I chose a tanka since it insures a short poem and just 31 syllables.

the sound of your voice,
[like a nightingale’s talons
on my heart’s chalkboard]
you craft dusty clever lies
i’m armed with fresh erasers.